They say the pen is stronger than the sword, but what about the brush? Can a work of art be so sig­nif­i­cant that it will change the world? Some works have such pow­er. Here are sev­en works of art that changed the world:

Banksy's work

1. Giotto di Bondone — Scrovegni Chapel in Padua

Com­plet­ed in 1305, Giot­to’s fres­coes “dis­cov­ered a new form of fig­u­ra­tive real­ism. In these paint­ings, Giot­to (c. 1267–1337) cre­at­ed three-dimen­sion­al fig­ures that were attached to the ground and con­struct­ed as if they were real peo­ple with real emo­tions. Although the artist did not use lin­ear per­spec­tive — which would be devel­oped in the next cen­tu­ry — his fig­ures were con­vinc­ing­ly pre­sent­ed on a two-dimen­sion­al sur­face, and this was an inno­v­a­tive and new approach that changed the course of art his­to­ry and rep­re­sent­ed the Renais­sance.

scrovegni chapel

2. Caravaggio — “Death of the Virgin”

The Death of the Vir­gin, paint­ed by Car­avag­gio in 1605, real­is­ti­cal­ly depict­ed the Vir­gin Mary at the moment of her death, in con­trast to tra­di­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions of her as a deity. Car­avag­gio (1571–1610) made a shock when, com­mis­sioned by the Carmelite Church, he paint­ed Mary with­out play­ing with the well-known images of her death. Instead, Car­avag­gio showed her at the moment of her earth­ly death, pale and sur­round­ed by grief, offer­ing a real­is­tic depic­tion and chang­ing the way the sacred was pre­sent­ed. The Carmelites took down the paint­ing almost as soon as it was hung in 1606. It has changed the his­to­ry of art, but it has also changed the way we think about death and how objects are treat­ed.

See also
Seven New Natural Wonders

death of the virgin

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3. Pablo Picasso — Girls of Avignon

After nine months of refine­ment, Picas­so (1881–1973) pre­sent­ed his enor­mous paint­ing of five women in 1907. It rep­re­sents a rad­i­cal depar­ture from pic­to­r­i­al con­ven­tions and notions of beau­ty, and also presents African and ocean­ic art as the touch­stone of the mod­ernists.” a depar­ture from anti-nat­u­ral­is­tic fig­u­ra­tion.

Avignon girls

In addi­tion to art from Africa and the Pacif­ic, the work depict­ed fig­ures from mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, allow­ing the view­er to essen­tial­ly move around them. In Les Maid­ens d’Av­i­gnon, Picas­so added a fourth dimen­sion of rep­re­sen­ta­tion, time. It is hard to imag­ine how the his­to­ry of mod­ern paint­ing would have devel­oped with­out this mas­ter­piece.

4. Marcel Duchamp — “Fountain”

Mar­cel Ducham­p’s “Foun­tain” changed the idea of ​​what could be called art. When Mar­cel Duchamp (1887–1968) sub­mit­ted his work anony­mous­ly to the salon of the Soci­ety of Inde­pen­dent Artists, it was imme­di­ate­ly reject­ed and instant­ly became famous. Invert­ed uri­nal signed “R. Mutt 1917 ques­tioned whether an artist must cre­ate an object in order for it to be con­sid­ered art.

dushan fountain

5. Frida Kahlo — “Self-portrait with a necklace of thorns and a hummingbird.”

Fri­da Kahlo (1907–1954), one of the most promi­nent artists of the 20th cen­tu­ry, placed her emo­tion­al and phys­i­cal pain on can­vas and revealed hid­den taboo themes through the sym­bol­ism of fruits and flow­ers. She also drew inspi­ra­tion from Mex­i­can tra­di­tions and the pre-His­pan­ic past. These influ­ences came togeth­er in her Self-Por­trait, and her influ­ence proved to be last­ing.

frida kahlo

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See also
Vision of the Earth

6. Jacob Lawrence — Migration.

Exhib­it­ed in 1941, The Migra­tion series tells the sto­ry of the Great Migra­tion, dur­ing which 6 mil­lion black Amer­i­cans moved from the rur­al South to the cities in the North. Accord­ing to Rooks, Lawrence’s series of 60 paint­ings (1917–2000) “rep­re­sent­ed Amer­i­can sto­ry­telling from a black per­spec­tive in the form of an epic.” The Muse­um of Mod­ern Art described it as “a mile­stone in the his­to­ry of mod­ern art and a key exam­ple of the rad­i­cal rethink­ing of his­to­ry paint­ing in the mod­ern era.”


7. Banksy — “Girl with a balloon”

British artist Banksy has cre­at­ed many ground­break­ing works since he start­ed bomb­ing walls in Bris­tol in the 1990s. A case in point is his 2003 paint­ing on the West Bank bar­ri­er wall in Jerusalem, which depicts a pro­test­er toss­ing a bou­quet of flow­ers.

girl with balloon

But in 2018, he shocked Sothe­by’s vis­i­tors when his Girl with a Bal­loon sold for $1.4 mil­lion and was imme­di­ate­ly destroyed thanks to a shred­der the artist hid in a frame. In the long run, work can affect how we val­ue art.

Art his­to­ry includes many oth­er pio­neer­ing and influ­en­tial works—to name but a few: Jack­son Pol­lack­’s drip paint­ing Con­ver­gence (1952), Andy Warhol’s Cans of Camp­bel­l’s Soup (1962), Romar Bear­den’s Dove ( 1964), Sheep­’s Head, White Hills of Hol­ly­hock Hills by Geor­gia O’Ke­effe (1935) and Par­ti­san Girls “Do women have to be naked to get into the Under­ground Muse­um?” (1989).

Read more: Michelan­gelo’s Most Famous Works